La Crosse County Landfill breaks ground on construction project - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

La Crosse County Landfill breaks ground on construction project

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ONALASKA, Wis. (WXOW) – The La Crosse County Landfill isn’t an ordinary landfill.

“You wouldn’t know that necessarily you were on a landfill right now,” said Tara Johnson, Chair on the La Crosse County Board of Supervisors. “You look behind you, there’s so much green and there’s so much beauty you wouldn’t look at this and say “Oh, that looks like a landfill!’”

“Most people think of landfills as a hole in the ground,” said Henry Koch, Director of the La Crosse County Solid Waste Department. “And so when they come out here and they see that we’re actually building above ground they’re confused, like ‘Don’t we put everything in the ground?”

The landfill uses top of the line technology to prevent harm to the environment, and even pipes gases off to heat local businesses.

“It’s a pretty amazing landfill,” said Johnson. “It’s a very, very progressive, innovative, sustainable landfill.”

On Tuesday, the landfill broke ground on a new construction project. And keeping with the county’s green attitude toward waste disposal, this project will go above and beyond to preserve the environment.

“Before we had sites like the one we’re building today, the sites leaked. They contaminated groundwater,” said Koch. “This is an example of building a site correctly and actually creating value out of the site after it’s filled.”

The first part of the project entails constructing a new landfill cell with a thick protective lining. Landfill cells are a necessary part of all modern-day landfills and help protect the environment from harmful waste.

“A lot of people think that a liner is just this thin little layer of plastic,” said Koch. “It isn’t. It’s four feet of clay, it’s a very thick layer of plastic, it’s a series of gravel layers and pipes that take out the leachate and that’s how we protect the ground water.”

The second part of the project closes an old landfill cell that is nearly filled up. The closing process caps the landfill with thick plastic and soil so gasses can’t escape and water can’t get in. It’s also designed to help the landfill blend  in with the environment allowing it to be used again.

 “We see value in this site beyond just disposing of the waste,” said Koch, “but making this an educational resource to our community and making it a recreational resource to this community.”

Right now the landfill is adding walking and biking paths around the site and say Boy Scouts use the land for winter camping and environmental education.

“I am really proud of our landfill,” said Johnson, “and not very many county board supervisors get to say that they’re proud of their landfills. So it’s a pretty great thing.”

The La Crosse County Landfill is the only landfill in the state of Wisconsin that has received the “Green Tier” certification from the DNR.

The construction project should be completed in September. Cameras have been installed at the landfill and so the public will be able to watch the progress via live feed. These cameras will be up and running in the next couple of weeks.

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